1936 - 1939

Life on the Move

Robert had just sent off his novel Antigua, Penny, Puce to the printers, and Laura was finishing...

...her own historical novel A Trojan Ending, when, on July 18th 1936, the Spanish Civil War broke out. On August 2nd the British consul told them that their last chance to leave the island was on a British destroyer, the H.M.S. Grenville, sailing from Palma that evening. In his diary Graves writes: Packed hurriedly and at random. Gelat came and undertook to do everything. He said Sinverg enzas and wept ... Gelat took keys, will keep everything for us ... Everyone weeping as we went off.

During the next three years, Robert and  Laura moved between England, Switzerland and France, waiting for the Civil War to end so that they could return to Dei . Despite their unsettled state, they continued working as hard as ever, Laura becoming more extreme in her belief that she and the others could change the world and stop the impending war. To make ends meet, Robert was researching his novel, Count Belisarius. It won the Femina-Vie Heureuse Prize. In June 1938 he and Laura, together with Alan Hodge and his wife Beryl, rented a chateau near Rennes, in Britany, where Gelat s sister lived, and under Laura s supervision set to work on various projects including a dictionary of exact meanings .

In January 1939  Laura read a highly complimentary article on her poetry in Time magazine, written by Schuyler Jackson and began corresponding with him. Soon the group travelled to the U.S. where Jackson fixed up accommodation for them in New Hope, Pennsylvania. Laura then fell in love with Jackson, causing his wife Kit to have a mental breakdown. Laura remained with Jackson, whom she eventually married, and thereafter devoutly renounced her poetry. Robert was distressed by this radical change in Laura, but he was already falling in love with Beryl Hodge and after their return to England was to find a lasting happiness with her. Alan and Beryl split up amicably, and she and Robert began their long life together.

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